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Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame: Amabile, a pioneer for WNY women’s sports, gets Hall nod

Pam Amabile sits front and center among the class of 2013 for the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. The class was announced at an event on June 6. She’s pictured above top, as well, that day.

Pam Amabile will be part of the 23rd class to be inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

The member of the Frontier High School Wall of Fame and former standout softball and basketball player at Erie Community College will be among 13 former athletes, administrators and coaches being honored on at the 2013 awards dinner which should take place later this year at the Buffalo Hyatt Regency. She was introduced as a member of the 2013 class on June 6 in a ceremony at the New Era building in downtown Buffalo.

Amabile is now considered a pioneer for what she accomplished in her sports career. The women’s athletics program at ECC, and many schools across the country, was in its infancy but had recently received a boost from Title IX. Amabile took ECC by storm and in her two years, became the Kats’ first true female superstar.

She was selected an All-American in both softball and basketball, and helped put ECC women’s athletics in the spotlight, along with helping propel the school’s athletic programs, as a whole. She was named ECC’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1979 and inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992.

In high school, she had led Frontier to the Section VI Class A softball title in 1975 ­— the first year the sectional tournament was played — and was one of the area’s first female hockey stars. She was a strong pitcher on the diamond at Frontier and continued that ECC, before earning a softball scholarship to Indiana University.

Amabile was one of the area’s first female athletes to receive a full-ride scholarship to a major university. She pitched the Hoosiers into the National championship series. She competed in the nationals at four levels — NCAA Division I, junior college, Amateur Softball Association’s A Level and ASA Major Women’s Fastpitch.

She also played in the Empire State Games from 1986 to 95 competing for the gold medal team each of those seasons. Her pioneering days continued in 2011 when the Empire State Games offered women’s ice hockey and Amabile, at the age of 40, made the team. She went on to win three gold medals and one silver. She had also starred for the Southtowns Hawks from 1975-81 and helped the team earn bids to play in three state and one national tournament.

Also a member of the Western New York and Metro Buffalo ASA halls of fame, Amabile has served as pitching coach for Buffalo State’s nationally-recognized softball program, helping the Bengals to three conference championships and eight NCAA Tournament appearances. In addition, she’s coached hundreds of young pitchers at her clinics, many of whom have gone on to college careers, just as she did.

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